Cable vs. Satellite Television

Is one better than the other?

For many years, satellite television providers enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the provision of specialized content from around the world. However, with the advent of digital cable and major improvements in transmission technologies, cable can now go toe-to-toe with satellite television in terms of the sheer range of options available. But is one better than the other? What are the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each?

The Pros and Cons of Cable and Satellite Television

Here is a breakdown of the major factors you should consider when trying to decide between satellite and cable providers in your area:

  • Cost. Satellite may have a slight edge when it comes to costs, since there is less technical infrastructure involved with satellite broadcasting, and satellite television providers are able to sidestep a lot of taxes that cable companies can't.
  • Programming. The number of cable and satellite television channels has largely equaled out over the past few years, thanks to the aforementioned improvements in digital broadcasting technology. This category is pretty even, but if you want programming from different countries around the world, satellite may be a better bet.
  • Broadcast standards. When it comes to broadcasting, both cable and satellite have pros and cons. Satellite has the entire sky open for its broadcasts, whereas cable can only go as far as its transmission infrastructure can reach. However, bad weather can wipe out satellite broadcasts, whereas cable is more reliable in this regard. Give cable a slight edge here.
  • Service bundles. This is largely a matter of your programming preferences. Because of fierce competition in the marketplace, cable and satellite companies offer comparable service bundles for one-bill convenience.
  • Commitments. You're more likely to see a satellite company ask you to make a minimum time commitment to their services than a cable company. Give the advantage to cable in this category, though if you shop around, you can probably find a satellite television provider who won't require you to make such a commitment.

As you can see, it's a virtual toss-up between cable and satellite. You should take a close look at your options in terms of programming bundles and carefully consider your viewing habits and preferences to make the decision that's right for you.

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